One reason why she was easy to parody (“The ebony fighter awakens, dabbled with the dewy beads of morn”, from “The Simpsons”) is because she spent four decades trembling on the brink of self-parody, and occasionally plunging in head-first. I loved all those old African proverbs, and I would like to think they were all cooked up by an enterprising intern working round the clock in her basement. How many old African proverbs are out there? Well, as the old African proverb on page 70 of Even The Stars Get Lonesome put it: “Sea never dry.”
Come on: I’m a better poet than Maya Angelou.
Her resilience, voice and overall persona made her famous, not her writing ability.